Class Year


Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Spring 2021

Department 1



People tend to view personality as a light-hearted, positive facet of psychology. However, the fact is that there are many unpleasant and dark aspects to personality. Psychologists have identified a grouping of three dark personality traits in subclinical individuals, which is termed the “Dark Triad”. The Dark Triad includes narcissism, psychopathy, and machiavellianism, which have their own unique twists but all have the basis of callous behavior and manipulation of others. This term was coined by researchers Paulhus and Williams (2002) when they measured these constructs and concluded that they were overlapping, but distinct concepts. The origin of these traits in individuals can be attributed to both genetic and environmental factors. In addition, there are strong correlations between popular trait models and the Dark Triad, as well as complex influences of dark traits on interpersonal behavior, occupational behavior, and sexual behavior.


Written for PSYCH 221: Personality Psychology

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.